There is lots of speculation and wonder about the end of the world and specifically the so-called "Mayan prediction".
As a pastor, I'm often asked to comment on things like this as people are curious if the Bible speaks to these issues.
Well, Jesus, in the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament of the Bible says, "But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." This is a reference to the end times and when God will set things right. So, it would seem for anyone to place a date for the end would be contrary to Jesus declaration, that no one, not the angels, (or the Mayans) would know.
There is however quite a lot written in the Bible about how we should live knowing the end is near.
1 Peter 4:7 states, "The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers." And in Ephesians 5:15-16 is states, "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil."
And then there are some powerful words in 2 Peter chapter 3, here are a few excerpts:
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God…Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.
And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him..You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability… But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen."
Here's the point: the Bible makes it clear that there is a reality beyond what we see — it's eternal and real. The world we see is temporary and the things we focus our time and attention on, will mostly disappear.
So how do we respond?
Since the world has not yet ended, it gives us opportunity to "get our house in order". In fact God's desire for everyone is that we would all come to repentance, meaning we would turn and trust fully in Jesus and what He did for us by dying for our sin and raising from the dead overcoming sin and death.
This is our window of time to respond to God and enjoy His grace and relationship with Him. Jesus came to make the way for us but it's only those who will trust in Him fully that will experience the fullness of an eternity in heaven.
It's not enough to know about Jesus, but rather to know Jesus which is a personal and deliberate act of faith. Once a person is in relationship with Jesus then most of these verses listed above are encouragements to stay focused on what matters most. To relate well with our families, to serve God, to live in a way that is God honoring — but all these are AFTER we "get right" with God through faith in what has been done for us (not what we can do for God).
Bottom line: we don't know when the world will end, but everything in the Bible points to it being soon. Therefore we all have this window in time to respond to what God has done for us. He revealed Himself through the Christmas story—God became man. He died for our sin and in our place because all sin deserves death. And if we will receive what He has done for us (personal/deliberately) we will know peace and enjoy true life and meaning through relationship with Jesus.
Come and hear more about this Jesus at our current series following the true story of Jesus' life from Christmas through Easter at Grace Church Roseville on Sundays at 9 or 10:45 a.m. and beginning January 12th on Saturdays at 5 p.m.